FCC announces Children’s Agenda for broadband

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski highlighted ways the new National Broadband Plan will effect children and families.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski highlighted ways the new National Broadband Plan will affect children and families.

Digital access, literacy, citizenship, and safety are the four key areas of focus in the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to bring broadband access to all children.

Broadband internet access should be available to 100 percent of American children, but parents should be aware of the possible challenges they will face by the increased amount of time their children might spend online, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a March 12 speech.

Genachowski announced the creation of the FCC’s “Children’s Agenda for Digital Opportunity,” which he said will build on the four pillars of digital access, digital literacy, digital citizenship, and digital safety. The Children’s Agenda is part of the National Broadband Plan to be released this week.

Genachowski explained that the FCC followed a series of core principles when developing initiatives around kids, media, and technology.

“Children are our most precious national resource. We must do everything we can to educate and prepare them to thrive in the 21st century, and keep them safe,” he said. “Empowering parents is an essential strategy in this area.”

He added that the government has an appropriate role to play, though it might be a limited one, while honoring the First Amendment. And, the FCC needs to ensure that all children have access to broadband.

“Unfortunately, more than 13 million school-age children don’t have broadband at home, and many have only limited access to broadband connections at school. That means 25 percent of U.S. children—one out every four kids—are missing out on the opportunities of broadband,” he said. “We need to ensure that all of our nation’s children have access to broadband. Anything less than 100 percent is not good enough.”

To achieve these goals, the National Broadband Plan, set to be unveiled March 17, will propose steps to ensure that every child in America benefits from digital opportunities.

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